Naming Pharma Brands

Naming Pharma Brands

As the first public face of the brand, the brand name is the brand’s first advertisement. This is one element of the branding that will endure throughout its lifecycle and doesn’t have the liberty to change, unlike other branding elements of the branding mix.

The naming of the brand is therefore a strategic component of the brand’s identity and value rather than a mere sprint in the registration race. Not that one wants to wash down the complexity of the registration process, but at times this all Herculean task becomes the only pivot around which brand naming balances itself.

Strongest brands are built on the foundation of
relevance, distinctiveness and sustainability.


Driving Force:

1. Generics
Here the naming is relevant to the molecular name. High difficulty levels at registration

Mox (Ranbaxy) Brand of Amoxycillin
Taxim (Alkem) Brand of Cefotaxime
Samy (Wockhardt) Brand of S adenosine methyl
Mebex (Cipla) Brand of Mebendazole

2. Therapy
Here the naming is relevant to the therapeutic category, brand belongs to. Also high difficulty levels at registration

Betaloc – Astra Brand of B Blocker Metoprolol
Asthalin – Cipla For asthmatics – Salbutamol
Candid – Glenmark For Candidiasis – Antifungal range
Rabipur – Novartis Vaccines Rabies vaccination
ABDEC Drops – Pfizer Multivitamin drops

II. Distinctiveness

Driving Force:

1. Benefit

Benefit-led names communicate to both presciber as well patient target groups. They are reflective of what the product promises to do.

C-Pink – Hematinic brand of Wanbury
Revital – Multivitmain, antioxidant from Ranbaxy
Restyl – Anxiolytic from Cipla
Rockbon – Calcium from Piramal

2. Abstract

Here the naming is completely unrelated to the molecule or the category. Poular examples are

3. Z Brigade

The belief that names starting with A or Z can break the clutter and be distinctive. Popular examples are

Zintac – GSK – Ranitidine
Zifi – FDC – Cefixime
Zenflox – Mankind – Ofloxacin

III. Sustainability

Driving Force:

1. Corporate Heritage

Some brands take equity from the parent brand to make themselves visible. This helps applies especially if there’s a sustainable pipeline

Manforce – Sildenafil from Mankind
Amlokind – Amlodipine from Mankind
Wockadine – Antispetic from Wockhardt
Ciplox – Ciprofloxacin from Cipla

The brand name cannot exist in isolation, it needs to build salience to to the overall personality of the brand. The use of colours, fonts and graphics add life and personality to the name and increase its salience to the intended target group.

The criteria for selection of all the naming elements cannot be that of personal likes or dislikes, but those that will make the brand

Relevant to target groups
Sustainable – that which will carry its own weight and that of its future extensions
Non offensive
Phonetically pleasant

And of course good luck with the regulatories!


Rashmi Thosar

Founder & Director Brandcare Healthcare

Brandcare Healthcare Communications is a leading healthcare advertising agency based out of Mumbai, Over the last decade we have helped companies and brands traverse the changing pharma landscape and emerge as category leaders.

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